An Alternative Antiphon for the Washing of the Feet?

I have just discovered through postings on the internet a hymn by Michael Forster (b. 1946) with music Christopher Tambling (b. 1964), possibly intended for singing on Holy Thursday.  Since the score that I’ve seen lists it as hymn #736 and it was copyrighted in 1997 by Kevin Mayhew, Ltd., I presume that it was published in the British Isles but I have no further publication information nor do I have a sense of how frequently it has been performed.


The world is full of smelly feet, / weary from the dusty street. / The world is full of smelly feet, / we’ll wash them for each other.

1.     Jesus said to his disciples, / ‘Wash those weary toes! / Do it in a cheerful fashion, / never hold your nose!’

2.     People on a dusty journey / need a place to rest; / Jesus says, ‘You say you love me, / this will be the test!’

3.     We’re his friends, we recognize him / in the folk we meet; / smart or scruffy, we’ll still love him, / wash his smelly feet!”

I have set a rule for myself that when offering critiques of people’s artistic productions, especially when they write to share their faith and encourage the faith of others, I try only to concentrate on the positive, which is why I am not offering a critique of this work.  I do wonder if this is a parody that inadvertently appeared in a published hymnal.  If anyone could enlighten me about this composition, I would be grateful.


  1. If I had possessed the sheet music for this “hymn” , I could have used it tonight when our pastor mentioned that Jesus, unlike the rich man of today’s gospel, washed the stinky, smelly feet of his disciples!! LOL!!!!

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